The 33-year-old Google exec was climbing Mount Everest to raise money for two Nepali orphanages when tragedy struck

By Tiare Dunlap
April 27, 2015 04:55 PM

Dan Fredinburg made a video that would be his last message to friends and family as he was climbing Mount Everest to raise money for two Nepali orphanages.

The 33-year-old Google executive was one of four Americans killed Saturday by a massive earthquake that devastated Nepal and has taken the lives of more than 4,000 people.

In the video, Fredinburg, an experienced climber, shows off his small tent and camping gear to a film crew from The Guardian, which was documenting his journey.

Fredinburg’s girlfriend, Ashley Arenson, had given him letters from friends and loved ones with the order to wait to read them until reaching the summit. It’s unclear whether or not he had a chance to do so before the 7.9 magnitude quake hit, causing a deadly avalanche.

Arenson called Fredinburg “magical,” according to CNN. “He had this way of making the people around him just feel special without even trying, and make people feel like they could accomplish anything they wanted.”

Close friend Max Stossel posted his letter to Facebook along with a heartfelt remembrance. “Dan is the most interesting, adventurous human I’ve ever known. He was a silent force for justice in the world in a way I thought only existed in fiction, Someone who broke up fights by walking into the middle of them and dancing with both fighters. Someone who I think about almost every day, through the lens of ‘What would Dan do?’ ”

Actress Sophia Bush, who dated Fredinburg until February 2014, took to Instagram to express her grief. “Today I find myself attempting to pick up the pieces of my heart that have broken into such tiny shards, I’ll likely never find them all. Today I, and so many of my loved ones, lost an incredible friend.”

Bush also used her heartbreaking loss to draw awareness to the suffering of the Nepalese. “I am crushed knowing that there are over 1,000 people in Nepal suffering this exact feeling, knowing that they too will never hear another tale about an adventure lived from someone that they love.”

Sophia Bush and Dan Fredinburg in 2013
Jeffrey Mayer/WireImage

Fredinburg’s younger sister, Megan, posted a tribute to her brother’s Instagram. “We appreciate all of the love that has been sent our way thus far and know his soul and his spirit will live on in so many of us. All our love and thanks to those who shared this life with our favorite hilarious strong willed man. He was and is everything to us. Thank you.”

Another close friend, Max Goldstein, paid tribute to Fredinburg by organizing a CrowdRise page to continue Fredinburg’s mission of supporting OrphanGift. So far, more than $ 45,000 has been raised.

Donations to the page will “help OrphanGift provide urgent aid for the children effected by the disaster and restoring structural damage.”

The page calls Fredinburg “an incredible brother, a brilliant engineer, and a damn good man.” Organizers also used Fredinburg’s story to implore donors to consider all of the lives lost. “Please remember that each person who is now gone was someone’s Dan. Please remember that our time on this Earth is not guaranteed. Please tell those you love that you do.” You can donate here.

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